Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Banquet multifaith meeting

Today was the Banquet, the multifaith discussion on the issue of what religion has to offer for promoting peace in the community. This was part of the manchester peace week, in which among other things theres a solidarity walk tomorrow in some parts of manchester that have been hit by youth gang violence.

There were short talks by representatives of different religions. The sikh speaker was most inspiring, he spoke with a lot of passion, he said sikhism is a peace loving religion, they have never persecuted people on basis of what you believe, yet sometimes its necessary to act when injustice is being done, if a poor woman is being beaten on street its necessary to defend her etc. So sikhs have historically done that, many centuries ago thousands of sikhs including one of their gurus laid down their lives defending some hindu pandits from religious persecution. He showed the ceremonial dagger all male sikhs are expected to wear, how they face lots of persecution for that, also recently decided not to meet the pope in his visit to US because of this.
The Jewish speaker gave a very well structured and logical talk, spoke of how all jews arent zionists and vice versa, the core teaching of judaism is dont do to others what you dont want to be done to yourself. The muslim speaker spoke about how islam, based on complete surrender to the will of God, is a peace loving religion and what many terrorists do in name of islam isnt supported theologically. The hindu speaker spoke of Gandhi's ahimsa and how whatever happens in life is all for the best, therefore no point of violence. There were no speakers from some other religions such as wicca and buddhism, partly to keep number of speakers manageable so there could be time for discussion. Question-answer session was over food, the food was most delicious curry with both vegetarian and non vegetarian options. All people who came really liked the discussion and the speakers views.

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